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Nothing personal guys.

Betsan Powys | 16:27 UK time, Sunday, 20 September 2009

_45758103_dafelthom_poster.jpgThere may be a compromise ahead ... or so sang the Presiding Officer on The Politics Show this afternoon.

He was talking about the future or otherwise of a fully bilingual record of debates in the Assembly chamber and a compromise - one that would appease angry AMs, while allowing the PO to make absolutely clear his disappointment "that the debate hasn't risen above talking about what we are doing already and not looking to the future".

Let's take a stab at what that compromise might look like: English-Welsh translation will be reinstated but not the expensive, overnight sort. How about the if-you-want-it-that-much-you-can-wait-a-few-days sort? It might not save them £250,000 but it would save them a few noughts surely?

And might they use a bit of what they've saved to pay for a fully bilingual record of some committees in future - perhaps the ones discussing legislation?

The Commission will meet tomorrow to talk compromises. In the meantime a direct message to his former colleagues at the Welsh Language Board from the Presiding Officer: he really doesn't want to fall out with them. After all his "deep unease" with their role in the matter isn't personal. It's purely constitutional guys.


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  • 1. At 6:08pm on 20 Sep 2009, John Henry wrote:

    It would be interesting to determine what the actual demand for translation is.

    Not having a linguistic axe to grind, an on-demand service might be a real answer to an ethereal issue.

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  • 2. At 6:25pm on 20 Sep 2009, mapex55 wrote:

    Sorry Betsan, its not 'purely constitutional',

    what it really is ...its 'purely irrelevant'.

    Just another load of hot air to keep that mess in the Bay talking about, at least something,even though of little or no import to the people of Wales. But at a cost though!

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  • 3. At 6:40pm on 20 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    The sleaze of these pigs grafting their way through as much public tax money as possible makes me absolutely furious !!

    The Times quotes this house, where Morgan clearly does not live full-time, as being 'five hours from London'. It would be an amazing feat to be able to get from that house to the House of Lords between 5 am and 10am on a weekday.

    This is disgusting and shameful. How dare she quote that this holiday home is her main home. And then spend her time persecuting parents with ill-thought out legislation that seeks to criminalise public-spirited individuals volunteering their help to clubs and societies.

    It makes me sick, and she should stand down forthwith.

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  • 4. At 6:41pm on 20 Sep 2009, Cardiffian2008 wrote:

    Surrendering to the will of the fanatics as usual... Inevitable really ! Can I post my theory on dafydd ellis thomas' big plan here then betsan? Apologies for going off topic with the other blog entry, I should have just waited a day or so... after all, that's all it ever takes for the welsh language to get back to the top of assembly business ;)

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  • 5. At 7:03pm on 20 Sep 2009, lostmanofgwent wrote:

    £250K is about half a street's worth of benefits for workshy wasters.I think I'd prefer to give employment to translators to produce something useful than to waste it on benefit scroungers

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  • 6. At 7:47pm on 20 Sep 2009, mapex55 wrote:

    message 5,....

    ....Or it could go to front line health care, but why waste it on the shamming sickies eh?

    All those ex-miners with the dust or white fingers, all putting it on, of course.

    No indeed, lets not waste it on such malingering wasters, better to have it turn scrap English into even worse garbage Cymraeg, far better all round I am sure.

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  • 7. At 8:29pm on 20 Sep 2009, lostmanofgwent wrote:

    White skivers.Some of them get tens of thousands of pounds just for a bad waste of money. They could do work that didn't involve finger strain

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  • 8. At 8:38pm on 20 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Referring to the moderators isn't going to make this sleaze go away you know..

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  • 9. At 8:39pm on 20 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Will Baroness Morgan be paying this money back ?

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  • 10. At 11:29pm on 20 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Interesting views from Greg Dyke.

    Of course, his speech is focused on Westminster, but I wonder how many of the points would translate to Cardiff Bay and Holyrood ?

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  • 11. At 07:01am on 21 Sep 2009, John Henry wrote:

    If the Presiding Officer feels a "deep unease" with the role of the Welsh Language Board, is it because of this particular matter, or is it a "deep political unease" because the actions of the WLB are dictatorial, and this dictatorial manner by an unelected body is having a negative effect upon the Politics of Plaid.

    Much like Adam Prices' banishment to the colonies, another fine mess you have got us into ......

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  • 12. At 10:02am on 21 Sep 2009, Returnee wrote:

    Meanwhile, in the real world, a minor misunderstanding about the priorities and practicalities of living in a modern European bi-lingual country get ironed out and everybody gets on with living in a bi-lingual world.

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  • 13. At 10:32am on 21 Sep 2009, Cardiffian2008 wrote:

    this "minor misunderstanding" has dominated the welsh media and 'blogosphere' (i hate that word) for the past 3 weeks!!! All is second to the language.

    I hardly think Dafydd Ellis Thomas looked like he misunderstood the situation when he was interviewed by Rhun ap Iorawth at the Plaid Conference. He gave the distinct impression that he was going to tackle the fanatics at the Welsh language Board head on in this issue. Obviously he has had a late night visit from the likes of Cymdeithas yr Iaith and lost his bottle :)

    It's a shame because as I said elsewhere, I think Ellis Thomas had a long term plan which have worked out better for all those involved in the self perpetuauting Welsh language industry.

    The lack of English to Welsh translations would have made it easier to 'excuse' more and more assembly processes being carried out through the medium of Welsh as they would still be quickly translated into English as a matter of course. Resultantly the profile of the language would have been raised and the translators would have had £90 cheques coming out of their ears. Of course though, the movers and shakers at the Welsh Language Board are far too intense, fixated and narrow minded to spot the long game that Ellis Thomas was trying to play. Eventually they will irritate the Welsh public enough that the axe will fall on them and normal life without the WLB can resume.

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  • 14. At 3:48pm on 21 Sep 2009, Cardiffian2008 wrote:

    also I'm a bit lost in relation to 'the overnight sort of translation' and the 'get it in a few days translation'.

    If there's always been an option then why on earth have the people of this country been paying for the much more expensive 'overnight' type of translation... and for how long have we mugs been doing it? Where have the tax payers alliance been in all this? They're normally pretty good.

    Do you mean to say that we have been paying extortionate amounts to translators to literally work through the night like some sort of emergency services department?!?... all because one or two stubborn fanatics (no doubt pretending they can't read English) must have their Welsh language copy of some Assembly committee minutes on their desk by 9am the next morning.

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  • 15. At 5:43pm on 21 Sep 2009, huwblog wrote:

    Can I suggest a cost effective solution? Speeches are not translated. If a speech is given in English, it is written up in english, welsh is written up in welsh. People can then decide what langauge they wish to use as a medium of commumication. This treats the two langauges of this nation equally and saves quite a lot of money that could be spent (for example) on health and education. It seems the perfect bilingual solution.

    I assume that there are also no doubt highly paid translators performing simulataneous translations done at the assembly meetings and committee meetings. Why not record these and put them on a web-page as mp3 downloads: this would provide a quick way for people to hear the proceedings in english or welsh as they like. They could also be sold on i tunes, generating much needed revenue. We could get Jayzee to sample it and create some serious hip hop.

    Google translate is pretty good now: if you put the written speeches into this, the translation may not be perfect, but from the context it will most of the time be no less clear than the original speeches.

    The main losers in this are the translators. However, #5 might be on to something. Rather than employing "overnight translators" who cost so
    much, why not help youth unemployment by having the translation done by unemployed young people with their welsh GCSE. The translation could be done on a wikipedia model: people translate the texts as a team online. That is a bit more 21st century: smart and good value.

    It would also liberate the brilliant bilingual minds of the professional
    translators to do something useful. We are always told how clever the bilingual mind is. Imagine the benefits Wales would reap if they applied their towering IQs to some of the social problems besetting this to improve schooling, creating jobs (other than translation jobs, that is...). Overnight Wales would leapfrog over the moribund body of Ireland to become the new celtic tiger and lead the world again as it did under Hywel Dda.

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  • 16. At 6:39pm on 21 Sep 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    Returnee 12 - are you still with us??

    We cannot be described as a modern Bilingual country!!

    The minor misunderstanding about the priorities and practicalities is actually a major strategic failure and financial blunder.

    With only 20 - 30% of the population Bilingual in the sense that they speak Welsh and English, Wales cannot seriously be described as a bilingual country,

    What we are is a country that has thrown away many 1000's of millions over the last 10 years or so - all with little success.

    The main achievements have been to bring the Welsh language into disrepute, damage much non Celtic Welsh cultures and languages, and to turn Welshman against Welshman.

    There are some who think that the money could have been better spent.

    Incidentally some of Huwblog's proposals at #15 above - are worth serious consideration.

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  • 17. At 11:17pm on 21 Sep 2009, Cardiffian2008 wrote:

    you're being very generous with your 20-30% West Wales.

    I like Huwblogs approach too... he seems to have a fresh take on things. Still like i did, after a year or so he might realise that all that ever gets discussed in Welsh politics is the Welsh language and that kinda saps your enthusiasm... unless of course you're a language activist and that's what got you involved in politics in the first place. They seem to be the only people that stay interested... hence that unrepresentative mess that we've got down the bay and the pitiful voter turnout.

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  • 18. At 00:47am on 25 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    That's always nice, for this story.....

    =Dennis Junior=

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